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Written by Savi, 33 Comments

Both of us are urban bunnies- we’ve lived in big cities all our lives and relish the variety, cosmopolitanism, and anonymity they offer. Unsurprisingly we love Berlin. (In)Famously described as ‘poor but sexy’ by its mayor Klaus Wowereit, it is exactly that. It isn’t the cleanest or the prettiest European capital, but it is definitely the quirkiest and the most eclectic.

It’s easy to fall in love with Berlin because it’s full of character. It’s young, dynamic, and volatile and we would live there in a heartbeat. Want to know why we love Berlin? Keep reading:

 

#1 The Music

We have a voracious appetite for music and street art, and Berlin is amazing for both those things.

Music is everywhere in Berlin. The best part? There are free open air micro-concerts happening everywhere you look. Walk around Alexanderplatz on a sunny morning and you’ll see what we mean- there are musicians at every street corner, people pausing to hear them, fans cheering them – the atmosphere is infectious. Our favourite is a guitarist/singer who usually performs under the bridge at Alexanderplatz – he goes by the name Johnny Jukebox Berlin and is amazing.

Love Berlin - MusicJohnny Jukebox

 

 

#2 The Art

As with music, Berlin’s best art is to be found on the streets, not museums or galleries. Don’t believe us? Just take a look at this artist painting portraits on the pavement using just coal and chalk:

Love Berlin - Portrait on the floorJust look at those eyes!

If you’re a street art aficionado, Berlin is the place for you. There’s graffitti, paste-ups, stamps, and some amazing pieces by street-art masters such as Dscreet, Stik, and Space Invader. The best places to look for street art are Kreuzberg, Schlesisches Tor, and Mitte (especially Rosenthaler Strasse). We have a lengthy piece on street art in Berlin coming up for all the street art geeks out there 🙂

Love Berlin - Street Art masterpiecesSome of the street-art masters we spotted: Dscreet’s famous owl next to Stik’s stick person

 

 

#3 Nightlife

Berlin is the global centre of electronic music, and sure enough its electronic music landscape is bewildering. There are clubs by the dozen, but if you’re fond of ambient electronic music or a mixture of electronic music with strong guitar riffs, then ask around and look for parties in non-traditional spaces such as disused cellars and empty industrial buildings. It’s hedonistic, it’s free thinking, it’s experimental- we love it!

The icing on the nightlife cake? The Berlin Metro runs 24*7 on weekends- London tube are you listening?

Love Berlin - warehouse partyWarehouses are where the party is at in Berlin 

 

 

#4 Beer is cheaper than water

A bottle of water costs €2 in Berlin. A bottle of cola costs €1.5.  A bottle of local beer costs €1.2. What can be better?

German fondness for beer is probably the worst-kept secret in the world, but Berlin takes it to a new level altogether. The beer culture here is crazy – even the tiniest restaurants have extensive beer menus, there are endless biergartens (beer-gardens) with rows upon rows of wooden tables and huge mugs of beer , and  beer seems to be the most popular breakfast drink.

Our favourites? Savi loved Radler (beer+lemonade), a German staple, but I loved the Berliner, the local wheat beer.

Love Berlin - cheap beerCoca Cola €1.5, Berliner €1.2 – We rest our case 🙂

If you’re looking to unwind over a couple of beers, head to Cafe am Neuen See, located deep inside Berlin’s sprawling park Tiergarten. The beer garden is in an idyllic location by a lake. There are endless rows of wooden tables under chestnut trees- it’s easy to spend an entire afternoon here. More information and reviews here.

Love BerlinNotice the lake in the background? 

 

 

#5 The Best Stuff is Free

Our favourite things in Berlin are all free. We suggest:

a) Visiting the roof terrace and dome of the Reichstag Building. The panoramic view is especially spectacular at night. It is free but you need to register before going. More information here.

b) Walking around Kreuzberg, Berlin’s most bohemian district – devour the street art, binge on scrumptious Turkish food, stroll through the Kreuzberg park, explore Kreuzberg’s rebellious alleys, and acquaint yourself with its alternate music venues.

c) Visiting the Mauerpark Flea Market- Berlin’s largest open-air market. It takes place every Sunday and is a right delight! It’s huge, chaotic, and fun. Find yourself a vintage coat, an old camera, or just grab a hot-dog, and beer and attend the public karaoke at the park’s amphitheater – makes for a perfect day out. More information here.

Love Berlin - Skyline at nightBerlin skyline from the Reichstag Building 

Free Berlin - Chaos at Mauerpark Flea MarketMauerpark Flea Market- chaotic but fun

Free Berlin - Quirky stalls at MauerparkQuirky bags at Mauerpark Flea Market

 

 

Both EasyJet and Ryan Air offer cheap flights from UK to Berlin. Prices start at £50/one way. The city is lively all year round, but is at its liveliest during summer months (June-September).

 

Hungry in Berlin? Read about our favourite cheap eats in Berlin to find out more about its cosmopolitan food culture.

 

Stuck on packing for Berlin? We have loads of fun outfit ideas and inspiration.

If you find yourself in Berlin, make the best out of the city using the Berlin Travel Card. (use code JULY6 at checkout to get 10% discount on all passes).

 

Have you been to Berlin? What is your favourite part about the city? 🙂

 

 

33 thoughts on “‘Poor but Sexy’ – 5 Reasons We Love Berlin

  1. I loved everything in Berlin, great city. i went to the watergate night club and to the Panorama bar, best parties and music ever,best drinks. and the fashion, oh god, so beautiful. i never had much good time as i had in Berlin, i’m definitely coming back 🙂

    1. Lubna we’ll look up Panorama because we’ll DEFINITELY be back in Berlin soon 🙂 Have you read our posts on fashion in Berlin?

  2. I stayed in Germany for 1 year and I lived in Berlin for 8 months. I have nice memories there. I love the place….a combination of old and modernity. I gained friends. I love the food. Indeed, Berlin is the Place to Be!

    1. Mary we couldn’t have agreed more. Berlin is special. We loved the food so much that we have a whole post coming up on it next week 🙂

  3. Hey Guys,
    Well it took me some time to write because i was busy travelling.
    I hope all is good with you guys.
    I really liked your writing. Very nice what you wrote on Berlin and needless to say i also loved this city a lot and think its one of the best.
    I hope you’ll have a great time in your next destination and in your coming trip to Latin America.
    all the best,
    Franko Tal (the guy you met at the free alternative walking tour)

    1. It’s so good to hear from you Franco 🙂 We’re so happy to see you found Bruised Passports. We have some more posts on Berlin coming up soon. Keep in touch, and look us up if you’re ever in London- would love to take you around.

  4. Great post on a great city! I too would live in Berlin in a heartbeat! It reminds me of London but with a stress free underground! I love Berlin for all the reasons you mentioned… but I wish water wasn’t more expensive to drink than beer (I realise I’m probably alone on that matter haha!).

  5. I really enjoyed this post. You sold me at 1 and 2. I honestly never knew too much about Berlin. I can’t believe that portrait on the pavement is painted with coal and chalk. That is so inspiring. I loved all your pictures as well.

    1. Thanks Krystal. The street art and music are our favourites too 🙂 Isn’t the portrait stunning? We stood transfixed for over an hour as the artist fleshed out the boy’s face- he took his own sweet time as he honed every strand of hair to perfection.

    1. The Mauerpark Flea is a lot of fun on a good day James. It can get very crowded, but it’s well worth it 🙂 What was your favourite part about Berlin?

  6. Ha! That’s funny, everyone seems to love Berlin and it’s one of the very few big European cities that I really don’t like. One of my best friends was living there for 4 years and I visited her 3 times, trying to keep an open mind and give the city another chance with each visit… Maybe it’s because I don’t like beer and I’m not a clubber, but architecturally it doesn’t do it for me and I don’t get the vibe. Everything is too big and empty, including the avenues and the giant electronics stores. And it’s absolutely freezing in winter! But I know I’m in the minority here… 🙂

    The one thing I do like though, is the cafe culture – and the big breakfasts…

    1. Camille I agree – architecturally Berlin is really different from most European cities. But that’s what made it exciting for us. Have you tried all the Turkish and German food on offer in Berlin? That is sure to endear the city to you 😉

  7. Ha! That’s funny, everyone seems to love Berlin and it’s one of the very few big European cities that I really don’t like. One of my best friends was living there for 4 years and I visited her 3 times, trying to keep an open mind and give the city another chance with each visit… Maybe it’s because I don’t like beer and I’m not a clubber, but architecturally it doesn’t do it for me and I don’t get the vibe. Everything is too large and empty, including the avenues and the giant electronics stores. And it’s absolutely freezing in winter! But I know I’m in the minority here… 🙂

    The one thing I do like though, is the cafe culture – and the big breakfasts/brunches…

    1. Dear Camille,

      We agree with you about the architecture – it’s not the best. Maybe we liked exactly that because after visiting so many cities in Europe one kind of gets used to the rather similar architecture. Berlin was a pleasant change and impressed us with its culture 🙂

      Love the cafes and food joints in Berlin 🙂

      Cheers

  8. Great summary of what’s cool in Berlin! I went when I was 16 as part of a tour- we didn’t make too far past Checkpoint Charlie. I’d love to go back on my own and test out all that beer!

    1. Karisa you NEED to visit Berlin good n proper – I have a feeling you will love it. The beer, the food, the music *swoon*

  9. Hey Guys,

    Thanks so much for all this information, I travel to Berlin on Monday and will definantly be doing some of the things on your lists (specialy the food). Unfornately we are only staying 3 nights, but I got on a registered to visit the Dome at the Reichstag thanks to your advise.
    I will definanly let you know what we think.

    1. Hi Sarah,

      Glad you found it useful 🙂

      Try going to the Reichstag after sunset. Also, look up “alternative tours berlin” – they have free tours everyday at 11 and 1 – we loved the tour, and will be writing about it soon.

      Berlin is amazing – hope you have a great time. 3 nights should be sufficient. Enjoy!!!

  10. Thanks so much for this lovely piece! Completely agree with your take on Berlin! And the coverage on Johnny! I saw – no heard him at Alexanderplatz! Amazing. Led to a new post on my blog. Have linked yours to it! Cheers and keep the backpacks moving!

  11. Hi!

    I’m hoping you can help me out. I bought one of those quirky bags from Mauerpark market a few years ago. I have forgotten the name of the company that made them. Maybe you know it or have made more pictures of these bags? I’d really appreciate any helpful hints! 🙂

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